I’m a little obsessed with cupcakes – baking, decorating, and of course, eating these cute morsels. Even though cupcakes seem to be fading from the trendy sweets race, they’re still one of my favorite desserts. I remember when I first became interested in baking during college… I was too intimidated to even attempt following a Martha Stewart recipe. Instead, I’d always reach for a box of Pillsbury cake mix, a red-colored container of Betty Crocker‘s pre-made frosting, and a tube of rainbow sprinkles. Let’s just say that I’ve come a long way these past few years, but I’m still no expert. Now, I always make my frosting from scratch – it’s fresher, there’s only a few ingredients, and you can adjust the sweetness to your liking. As for the cake, I try not to take shortcuts, unless I really need to. If I do end up using boxed cake mix, I would modify it by adding Oreo cookies, cookie dough, or sprinkles, to keep things interesting.
At my cousin’s housewarming party this past weekend, I made mini carrot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. The spices (cinnamon and nutmeg) that went into the cake batter and the orange color of the carrots seemed very ‘fall’ to me. Plus, who doesn’t love carrot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting?
Carrot cupcakes recipe (yields 24 regular-sized or about 50 mini-sized, depending on your pan)
- 2.5 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 12 oz carrots, peeled
- 1.5 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1.5 cups canola or vegetable oil
- 12 oz. cream cheese, cold
- 6 tbsp (or 3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- Shred the carrots with a grater, food processor, or a mandoline. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt.
- Using a mixer, combine sugars and eggs until frothy. With it running, add the oil, and mix until combined and the color is light.
- Gradually add dry ingredients. Stir in shredded carrots.
- Line muffin pan with liners. Fill liners a little over 3/4 full with batter and bake for 20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool cupcakes in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack
- For the frosting: cream together the cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy.
- Add vanilla extract and gradually add the powdered sugar until combined. Beat until smooth.
- When the cupcakes are completely cool, decorate with frosting as desired. I used a star decorating tip with my cupcakes.
Jamie’s tips for this recipe:
- I don’t have a food processor (it’s on my wish list) and had to shred the carrots with a grater. It wasn’t the most convenient or the quickest way. If you have a food processor or a mandoline, I highly suggest using it.
- If the cupcakes are on the dry side or the flavor has too much spice, turn them into cream-filled cupcakes! Just hollow the center of the cupcakes out and pipe a little frosting inside. Follow the video instruction on YouTube.
- I kept the cream cheese frosting simple and plain this time. However, you can flavor it by adding shredded coconut, white chocolate, or maple syrup.
- If you prefer more carrot flavor in the cake, feel free to use 1 pound of carrots.
- Add white sprinkles or chopped nuts to the white-colored frosting for a fancy touch.
Are you a fan of carrot cupcakes and cream cheese frosting? Which variation of cream cheese frosting do you prefer?